How to Create a Dating App: Tips, Features, Process, and Cost

It seems that the dating app market is oversaturated with many products and by dominant players like Tinder. But, what if you still have a worthy dating service idea and are curious about dating app development.

Dating App Market Map

Key insight: Dating apps account for almost a quarter of dating services industry revenue with a growing portion each year.

Thus, for a rational entrepreneur, the market represents a great opportunity to make a dating app.

Continue reading this guide to find top tips to make a dating app with the potential to earn profit.

Why You Should Still Build a Dating App: Market Situation

Look at the data provided by Stanford University that illustrates the shift in the ways of meeting partners over the years.

Graph: How Couples Meet Today

To add, Statista provided the following insight about the online dating market:

  • Income from the online dating segment accounts for $1.667M in 2019
  • Revenue predicted at 4.2% annual growth rate (2019–2023)
  • Average revenue in online dating per user accounts to $4.9

Thus, there is enough demand for a new dating app on the market. All you need to do is to сome up with a fresh and value-giving app concept, concentrate on a specific target group, and prepare your business strategy well.

The main benefits provided by dating apps include:

  • permanent and fast access to the service
  • efficient option for busy people
  • opportunity to find a soulmate nearby
  • variety
  • good option for introverts
  • ability to avoid unwanted connections

A study performed by Kaspersky Lab revealed that the top reasons for using a dating app are just for fun, to find friends, and to spend time with an interesting person.

Reasons for Using Dating Apps

It is worth mentioning a big market player: the majority of dating apps (Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, etc.) are owned by the Match Group. In 2018, the company reached $1.73B in revenue and they continue to expand via international acquisitions like Meetic in Europe and Eureka in Japan.

The table below lists the top ten dating apps with key insights about them.

Dating App People Want To Use

First and foremost, you should make a dating app targeting a specific but sufficient audience. It is possible to concentrate on matches of particular interests, tastes, relationship focus, or even allow group dates if you plan to build a dating app with increased trustworthiness.

Potential Users of a Dating App

Here are the main aspects of a successful dating app development:

  • Market research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Concept finalization
  • App name & logo creation
  • Dating app design

Consider the following pro tips to create a catchy design for dating app:

  • use the latest trends like blurred background images, translucent elements, swipe navigation
  • apply positive and energetic color schemes
  • use interactive elements to communicate with your audience
  • include simple and easy-to-understand onboarding
  • focus on gestures for app engagement and interaction
Swipe Gestures in a Dating App
  • Qualitative content
  • Gamification & engaging functionality
  • Marketing plan

Extra tip: Curious about how to make a dating service that will conquer the hearts of users? Solve the following issue!

There are many sexual predators using dating apps to find a victim. Crime statistics support this increase in the number of related claims connected with the use of online dating services.

Thus, take the aspects of user security as well as data privacy & security into close when developing your dating app concept.

Technical Aspects of Dating App Development

Here, we cover the core tech components and aspects in terms of their importance for dating app development.

Key Features of a Dating App

Features of a Dating App

Matching algorithms

  • matching based on location by using geodata
  • personality characteristics (e.g. age, gender)
  • compatibility of interests (e.g. music taste, hobbies)
  • physical state (e.g. height, physique)
  • special questionnaires (e.g. place preferences, cats or dogs)
  • matching based on friend connections to build better trust and user safety (uses data from social networks)
  • behavior-based attribute

Messenger & communication channels

A messenger is another core component in a dating app. Whichever matchmaking process you apply, the next step always involves communication.

If you are interested in building a unique dating app, you may also include some of the following features:

  1. Feed
  2. Stories
  3. Missed connections
  4. Advanced date suggestions
  5. Message editing
  6. Gift-giving option

Tech Stack of Dating Apps

How Much Money Do Dating Apps Make?

If you want to know how dating apps make money, consider the following revenue streams:

  1. Advertising
  2. Freemium model
  3. In-app purchases and gifts
  4. Sponsorship

Resources for, & Cost of, Making a Dating App

Dating App Design

Any app development requires proper planning in terms of budget. In general, the cost of making a dating app depends on the following factors:

  • development approach
  • number of platforms (plus adaptation to devices — web responsiveness)
  • location of a software development partner and their rates
  • app design complexity
  • number and complexity of features of the dating app in the first and subsequent app versions

Our experience shows that it takes approximately 3–5 months to develop the first version at a cost of around $50,000-$80,000 per platform (iOS or Android + back-end development + basic admin panel). This is the minimum budget for the first version that you should expect to spend. The cost of making a dating app may increase depending on your requirements and needs.

Extra note: How to build a dating service similar to Tinder is not a relevant question to ask. That company received investments of $50M dollars to develop, scale, and promote the Tinder app. Not every product can boast such a budget. However, you can have your own success story. Just don’t intend to build an app like Tinder, as cloning an existing product will not result in a great outcome. Rather, try bringing a new idea to the market.

Dating Apps: Final Thoughts

Here is a list detailing the step-by-step process of dating app development:

Step 1: Research the market and study competitors to find your niche
Step 2: Define the target audience in order to serve their needs exactly
Step 3: Conceptualize a unique dating app idea with great scope of functionality for the first and following app versions (matching algorithm, gamification elements, user interaction)
Step 4: Focus on creating appealing UX/UI design and branding materials (e.g. logo, icons)
Step 5: Ensure high-end app security, data protection, and verification processes to boost trust in a service
Step 6: Think bigger and apply innovative technologies like AI, AR, VR, etc. in subsequent app versions

Step 7: Spend enough time on app testing in terms of security, user acceptance, bugs, and freeze avoidance
Step 8: Develop and launch the first dating app version or, in the case of a limited budget, test the waters with an MVP
Step 9: Build revenue streams naturally and unobtrusively inside your dating app
Step 10: Launch an effective marketing campaign and invest in user acquisition

This is a summary of an article published on MLSDev blog. If you would like to learn a detailed description and additional points to make a dating app — read the full article.

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